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EPA Recognizes Ten From New Hampshire With Environmental Merit Awards

Release Date: 04/22/04
Contact Information: Contact: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office, (617) 918-1014

For Immediate Release: April 22, 2004; Release # 04-04-28

BOSTON – At an Earth Day ceremony in Boston’s Faneuil Hall, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's New England Office today recognized ten individuals and organizations from New Hampshire with Environmental Merit Awards, including one lifetime achievement award. The merit awards, given out since 1970, honor individuals and groups who have shown particular ingenuity and commitment in their efforts to preserve the region's environment. This year's competition drew nearly 100 nominations from across New England.

“These individuals, organizations and businesses deserve our thanks for their extraordinary contributions in protecting the environment,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA’s New England Office. “They have shown us that anyone can make a big difference, whether at work, at home, or in their neighborhood.”

The winners from New Hampshire were among 34 from across New England. Awards were given in the categories of individual; business (including professional organizations); local, state or federal government; and environmental, community, academia or nonprofit organization, as well as lifetime achievement awards for individuals.

Pictures of winners receiving their awards will be available from EPA. Call Carol Krasauskis at 617-918-1108.

Environmental Merit Award Winners from New Hampshire are:
Lifetime Achievement: Sharon F. Francis, CT River Joint Commissions, Charlestown, NH
Sharon Francis can show like few others a lifetime of thoughtfully considered, articulate and effective advocacy on behalf of the environment. Beginning as a 15-year-old volunteer for the Seattle Mountaineers fighting against illegal logging in Olympic National Park, her career has led to her to Washington, DC, working for Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall and for President Johnson in the White House, to Boston, working with the New England Natural Resource Center and, most recently, to Charlestown, NH where she currently leads the CT River Joint Commissions.

Among her many successes are helping to prevent a new dam proposed for the Grand Canyon, helping to draft the federal Clean Water Act and creating an environmental forum for presidential candidates with the 1987 VOTE ENVIRONMENT campaign. In addition to being executive director of the Connecticut River Joint Commissions, Francis has found the time to serve on municipal planning boards and numerous boards of environmental organizations. Francis enjoys the respect and admiration of friends and colleagues far beyond the Connecticut River Valley for an impressive span of achievements and a lifetime of service to the environment.

David Govatski, Friends of Pondicherry, Jefferson, N.H.
David Govatski is a citizen activist in the best sense of the word. His tireless work on behalf of the Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge in Jefferson and Whitefield, NH has resulted in the refuge’s growth from only 305 acres in 2000 to more than 4,000 acres today. Govatski was also instrumental in the refuge’s recent designation as the first New Hampshire Important Bird Area (IBA). A key factor in the refuge’s expansion was Govatski’s tireless efforts to gain consensus among the towns of Jefferson and Whitefield, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the NH Fish and Game Department, the Audubon Society of New Hampshire and area land owners. Govatski also serves on the Jefferson Conservation Commission, volunteers as a leader for New Hampshire Audubon’s Christmas bird counts, is active in Friends of Weeks State Park and leads trips through New Hampshire’s North Country for numerous non-profit organizations. The Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge and the entire North Country are reaping the benefits of Govatski’s work.

New Hampshire Ball Bearings, Peterborough, N.H.
Patti Carrier, Richard Reynells, Maureen Donegan

Richard Reynells, operations manager, Maureen Donegan, purchasing manager, and Patti Carrier, facilities and environmental manager, have shown that New Hampshire Ball Bearings’ commitment to the environment extends far beyond the company’s own operations. Realizing that the company’s suppliers have a major environmental impact, these three employees began working with facilities in their supply chain to reduce those impacts. Beginning in spring 2003, the company partnered with EPA’s New England Office to train nine New England companies in the development and implementation of environmental management systems for their operations. The program included six months of training sessions at the NHBB facility. Carrier, Reynells and Donegan were critical to the success of the program, speaking in support of the project, encouraging senior management at participating companies, and making a commitment that companies would be preferred suppliers to NHBB if they developed environmental management systems. The success of this pilot project has prompted EPA to launch three additional “Greening the Supply Chain” projects in Connecticut.

New Hampshire Pollution Prevention Internship Program:
Dr. Ihab Farag, University of New Hampshire, Sara Johnson, NH Department of Environmental Services

The Pollution Prevention Internship (P2I) program teaches students and businesses across New England how to protect the environment, while also achieving significant savings. The program, established by the University of New Hampshire, NH Department of Environmental Services, and EPA’s New England Office, pairs engineering students with sponsors at local businesses and government agencies. After receiving training, the students apply the latest techniques and design ways to achieve source reduction, risk reduction and energy efficiency at their sponsors’ facilities. To date, the program has placed almost 100 students at 48 facilities across the region. These internships have achieved significant environmental benefits, including more than $3 million a year in savings at participating companies. The program has spurred widespread publicity and imitation, with the latest P2I program established in Thailand.

New Hampshire Drinking Water Source Protection Coordinators
Sarah Pillsbury, Johnna McKenna and Paul Susca, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Over the last four years, the six New England state drinking water source protection coordinators have made tremendous contributions to the long-term safety and viability of drinking water for New England residents. Since 1999, the various state programs, working with local, state and federal agencies, and non-profit organizations, have completed over 2,500 source water assessments, identifying potential threats to drinking water from hundreds of municipal and private suppliers in New England. But they have also gone far beyond information gathering by launching creative new programs to ensure that drinking water threats do not materialize. Efforts include partnering with non-profit agencies and drinking water suppliers to protect source waters, drafting model land conservation easements with the New Hampshire Society for the Protection of Forests, starting land conservation programs to purchase critical land near drinking water sources and working with Maine’s George Mitchell Center to create a manual on source water protection for suppliers.

Related information:
Environmental Merit